[Answered] “Floating farms can help in achieving sustainable agriculture and economic growth.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. How floating farms would be beneficial for agriculture and economic growth?
Conclusion. Way forward.

Floating farms are farms that allows growth of vegetables and fruits on floating structures on water. It is a way of utilising areas which are waterlogged for long periods of time in the production of food. The technology is mainly aimed at adapting to more regular or prolonged flooding.

Mechanism of floating farms:

The approach employs beds of rotting vegetation, which act as compost for crop growth.  These beds are able to float on the surface of the water, thus creating areas of land suitable for agriculture within waterlogged regions. Scientifically, floating agriculture may be referred to as hydroponics.

How floating farms would be beneficial for agriculture and economic growth?

  1. Food security: To meet the challenge of feeding growing populations in a sustainable way, the farm, provide a new sustainable way of producing food close to where most of it is consumed in the world’s cities. Floating farms could be the future for sectors of agriculture providing fruit and vegetables in parts of the world.
  2. Less maintenances: Farms of the future will operate autonomously as they float on the open sea. Therefore it’s maintenance cost and inputs are less.
  3. Pisciculture: It is an eco-friendly concept which can support fish farms down below, thereby providing livelihood and food to many. By cultivating crops in water, it is also possible to simultaneously harvest fish populations which reside in the beds.
  4. Energy efficient: Solar panels on the roof to keep things running. Much of the power needed for the floating farm would come from rooftop solar arrays. Thus it is energy efficient.
  5. Spacial efficiency: Several floating farms could be clustered together to improve their efficiency even more to serve densely populated areas.
  6. Resource friendly: The most important component would be the hydroponic garden, because hydroponics doesn’t require natural precipitation, fertile land or pesticides to be effective and can serve as a model for people who live in arid regions or areas with poor soil. Hydroponic gardens can also be stacked, so they take up less space.
  7. Community benefits: Floating agriculture can be used in areas where agricultural land is submerged for long periods especially during the monsoon season. The practice helps mitigate land loss through flooding, by allowing cultivation of these areas to continue. In this way, the total cultivatable area can be increased and communities can become more self sufficient. 
  8. More productive: In addition to this, the area under floating cultivation is up to 10 times more productive than traditionally farmed land and no additional chemical fertilisers or manure is required. When the crops have been harvested and floating rafts are no longer required, they can be used as organic fertilisers in the fields or incorporated into the following years floating beds as a fertiliser.
  9. Livelihood creation: The practice of floating agriculture also helps supplement the income of local communities and contributes to alleviation of poverty. Because the system is fairly labour intensive, it also has the capacity to provide employment opportunities within communities. As both men and women can carry out the floating agriculture practices, it can also lead to improvements in gender equity.

With its aquaculture, hydroponics, and photovoltaics features, the floating farm could produce food 365 days a year, regardless of water scarcity, drought, and even natural disasters. Thus it would not only ensure food security but will benefit agriculture sector and will ensure economic growth through employment opportunities.

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